Measuring sexual and reproductive health service use and outcomes for transition-aged youth with ASD

Principal Investigator(s):
Laura Graham Holmes, Ph.D.
Grant Type:
Applied Research
A. J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Year Awarded:
Year Completed:
Health and Sensory Issues


For most adults, sexuality and relationships are among the primary everyday contributors to life satisfaction, health, and well-being. Sexual and reproductive health services promote the ability to have safe, satisfying, non-coercive sexual experiences and to make and implement informed decisions about reproduction. People on the autism spectrum experience sexual desire and engage in partnered sexual behavior and relationships. However, there is very limited research on their sexual and reproductive health and access to related services like sexuality education or appropriate healthcare (e.g., preventative screenings, contraceptive counseling, prenatal/antenatal care). This project addresses critical research gaps impeding the development and dissemination of targeted sexual and reproductive health services for transition-aged youth with autism. Stakeholder input is needed to identify key measurable constructs about sexual/reproductive health outcomes, service needs, and factors believed to affect access to services. Additionally, there is no validated measure of sexual/reproductive health for youth with autism and no population-based data to inform policy. We will elicit stakeholder input to create a comprehensive framework of key constructs to guide future research and policy advocacy, and will use this framework to develop and pilot an open source sexual and reproductive health instrument designed for population-based research to serve transition-aged youth with autism.


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